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Macadamia Nut Cream Cake – fluffy vanilla bean cake layers with toasted macadamia nut cream filling, toasted macadamia nuts and vanilla bean buttercream.
Summer is already flying by thanks to our back-to-back family vacations. We didn’t intend to do them so close together, but both Ryan’s family and my family schedules could only line up at this time. So, we were able to go to Oahu with my mom and my siblings for a week, come home for a week, and then jetted off to join Ryan’s family in Oceanside for a week. We’ve had an absolute blast, but I gotta say, it feels SO good to be home!
After our trip to Oahu, I spent the one week at home baking away in my kitchen. If you were following along on Instagram, you know I was obsessed with the Macadamia Nut Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu and used my new-found obsession to inspire this cake. The macadamia cream filled donut from Leonard’s is honestly one of the tastiest treats I’ve ever sunk my teeth into. If you’re headed to the island, getting malasadas from Leonard’s is a must!
As I thought about a cake inspired by the malasadas, I really wanted it to be about the macadamia nut cream. So, my goal for this cake was to make the macadamia nut cream shine and be the star of the show.
Macadamia Nut Milk
Getting the macadamia nut flavor in the cream was my first challenge. The cream in the malasadas was thick and creamy, but only had a slight hint of macadamia nut. I wanted my cream to scream macadamia nut!
I love the cream filling I made in my Verden’s Beste Cake a while back, and knew it would be the perfect starting point for the macadamia nut cream. In the original recipe, I call for two cups of milk. So, naturally, I thought I could replace the regular milk with store-bought macadamia nut milk. Turns out, macadamia nut milk is kind of hard to find and isn’t very flavorful. It reminds me a lot of almond milk. Kind of thin and bland.
After sampling the macadamia nut milk and deciding the flavor wasn’t strong enough, I decided to make my own milk – with toasted macadamia nuts. Toasting the nuts helps bring out the flavor and creates an even nuttier profile.
Don’t be afraid to make your own nut milk. It’s honestly so easy! You’ll simply toast your macadamia nuts with some salt, soak them in macadamia nut milk or other milk (almond, cashew, or even regular milk), puree it all and then strain to get the milk out of the puree. The full instructions are below, but plan to make this part of the recipe and the custard ahead of time.
Macadamia Nut Cream
After you’ve made your macadamia nut milk, you’re ready to make your custard. The custard is a simple recipe of egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and your nut milk. They key to making the custard thick and creamy is to slowly add the milk to the egg yolk mixture and then letting the entire mixture thicken for a while over the stove.
Again, this is something you’ll want to make ahead of time so the custard has time to set and cool in the refrigerator. Plan on making it at least a day before you put together the cake.
Also note that you’ll wait to add the whipped cream to the custard until you’re ready to assemble. I mixed mine together too early and it ended up being thinner than I intended. If you look at the Verden’s Beste Cake, you’ll see it can actually get pretty thick, but it’s certainly not ruined if it’s on the thinner side like mine. Either way, the flavor is going to knock your socks off!
Macadamia Nut Cream Cake
With the macadamia nut cream ready to go, I decided on a light and fluffy vanilla bean cake and frosting to pair with it, along with toasted macadamia nuts for some texture. For the cake and frosting, you’ll use a vanilla bean paste, which you can often find at Orson Gygi, Walmart or even craft stores like Michaels.
I absolutely love this cake and frosting with the cream filling. They’re both light and flavorful, and really let the cream shine. I think you’re going to love this cake!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CAKE LAYERS
Don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:
- Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
- Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
- Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
- Use room temperature wet ingredients.
- Use fresh baking powder.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
NOTE: These cake layers rise to about 1 – 1.25″ high. If you want thicker cake layers, I suggest adding an extra half batch to the recipe.
CAN I MAKE THIS CAKE IN ADVANCE?
All of my cakes, fillings, and buttercreams can be made in advance. I love spreading out the baking process so I never feel rushed or stressed to get it done all in one day. Check out these blog posts for scheduling your baking and storing your cakes.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
This buttercream is so silky-smooth, you’re going to love it! Make sure to follow my tips for making the best buttercream over at: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM
- Sift your powdered sugar
- Use slightly cold butter
- Use heavy whipping cream
- Beat for 5 minutes
- Stir by hand
You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step.
Macadamia Nut Cream Cake
Fluffy vanilla bean cake layers with roasted macadamia nut cream filling, roasted macadamia nuts and vanilla bean buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (72.6 g) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs (whole) room temperature
- 3 large egg whites room temperature
- 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
- 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (13 g) vanilla bean paste
FOR THE MACADAMIA NUT CREAM FILLING
- 8 ounces raw unsalted macadamia nuts if you can only find salted macadamia nuts, remove ½ teaspoon salt from recipe
- 2 cups (480 g) macadamia nut milk (other nut milk) can also use water or regular milk
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (8.12 g) corn starch
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (115.5 g) heavy whipping cream cold
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 tablespoon (13 g) vanilla bean paste
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup (77 g) heavy whipping cream
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.
FOR THE TOASTED MACADAMIA NUTS
- 2 cups (300 g) raw whole macadamia nuts measured and then chopped
- 1/2 cup (62.5 g) granulated sugar
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, and another coat of spray. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on high until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and the egg whites, one at a time to the bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.
- Turn the mixer on low and add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Then add half of the buttermilk and blend well, followed by another ⅓ of the flour mixture, the second half of the buttermilk and lastly, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla bean paste and beat on low until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low for another 30 seconds.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter among the three 8-inch or four 6-inch pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.
- Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks.
- When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I’ll just put it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
FOR THE MACADAMIA NUT CREAM FILLING (most of these steps are best done ahead of time)
- TOASTED MACADAMIA NUTS (plan to do ahead of time): Roughly chop the macadamia nuts and then place in a saute pan over medium heat with the salt. Toast the macadamia nuts until golden brown and fragrant, making sure to stir frequently.
- Once the macadamia nuts are toasted, combine the toasted macadamia nuts and nut milk (or water) in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the nuts soak for about an hour.
- After the nuts have soaked for an hour, place the nuts and nut milk in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
- MACADAMIA NUT MILK (plan to do ahead of time): Using a cheesecloth or thin dish towel, strain the liquid from the puree. This is best done over a large bowl. Pour the nut puree over the cheesecloth and squeeze the liquid through the cloth. We want to get 1 cup of liquid from our puree. If you’ve strained as much as possible and still don’t have 1 cup of liquid, place the leftover paste from the cheesecloth back into your blender or food processor, add another ½ cup of nut milk and puree again. You’ll then strain the puree again to get more liquid.
- The nut milk can be made up to a week before you plan to make the custard. Just make sure to refrigerate the milk in a mason jar or other airtight container.
- FOR THE CUSTARD (plan to do ahead of time): In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks. Add the cornstarch and whisk until the mixture is light yellow and a bit thick.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of the nut milk and vanilla. Just before the milk begins to boil, remove it from the heat.
- Very slowly, add the nut milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. When you’ve combined all the nut milk with the egg mixture, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat until it has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently. Allow the custard to cool completely and then place in an airtight container to refrigerate overnight.
- TO COMPLETE THE MACADAMIA NUT CREAM FILLING (finish day of assembly): Beat the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold the heavy whipping cream into your custard. Best used right away.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, and dash of salt.
- Continue to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for an additional 5 minutes.
- Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.
FOR THE TOASTED MACADAMIA NUTS
- Chop the macadamia nuts and then place in a saute pan over medium heat with the sugar.
- Cook the macadamia nuts until the sugar has melted, coated the nuts and the nuts become golden brown. Make sure to stir frequently. Once the nuts are cooked, spread them out on parchment paper to cool completely.
- Place the first cake layer, top side up (top side up), on a cake board or cake plate. Using an offset icing spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake layer, about ½ cup. This creates a barrier between the cake and filling so the cake doesn’t become soggy.
- Pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake layer. This will help support the cake layers and prevent the filling from spilling out.
- Spread about ½ to 2/3 cup cream filling on the cake layer.
- Sprinkle about a ½ cup of the toasted macadamia nuts over the cream filling.
- Gently place the second cake layer on top of the fillings and the above steps for the second layer.
- Place the final cake layer top side down on the second layer of fillings.
- Freeze the cake for about 10 minutes to help set the frosting and filling, making it a bit more stable for when you frost. If the cake still feels wobbly, add a dowel to the center of the cake (or you can even use drinking straws for this).
- After the filling is set, use a small amount of frosting to apply a crumb coat around the entire cake. Freeze the cake again for another 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- After the crumbs are locked in, continue to frost and decorate the cake with the remaining frosting and toasted nuts.